Tahoe SCUBA Diving

This weekend Lynn completed her PADI Open Water Certification! Thanks to Patrick, I had a dive buddy so I could tag along on the Sierra Diving Center certification dives without interfering with the class.


The class lines up at about 20 feet down below the surface at Sand Harbor.

The instructors working with Lynn and her dive buddy, Tessa.

My dive buddy, Patrick, goofing around.

Me, Lynn and Tessa – photo by Patrick.

Patrick, zenning out.

While the class was going through drills, Patrick and I watched a number of crayfish all heading the same direction. We found where they were heading.

At the surface.

Tessa and Lynn.

Diving in Tahoe was a lot of fun, and I’m really excited Lynn is certified. Stay tuned for new underwater adventures, and if you’re looking for more, check out my Donner Lake SCUBA Diving Video.


Point Reyes Wildlife Video

Point Reyes is an incredible place, and its wildlife is just one facet of that. As I’ve been getting to know Point Reyes again over the past few years, I’ve seen whales, elephant seals, tule elk, myriad birds, a couple bobcats and even a peregrine falcon.

Wildlife photography is by far the most difficult type of photography I’ve tried, and video is even more challenging. Point Reyes has been a great place to practice.


Deuter Pace 30 Backpack Review

Finding a good day pack was tougher for me than for some – I wanted something I could take hiking, backcountry skiing, climbing, even mountain biking – growing and shrinking to carry minimal gear or a DSLR camera with multiple lenses on any given outing.

I haven’t come across the perfect day pack yet, but my Deuter Pace 30 has been serving me well for the last 4-5 years. It’s been on countless day hikes from the High Sierra to the coastal redwoods, backcountry skiing in Tahoe and Yosemite, carried rock climbing gear to crags near and far, and even done admirable duty as a mountain bike hydration pack, until a smaller, more dedicated pack filled the role recently.

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Review: Five Ten Kestrel Bike Shoe

After upgrading my 1998 Psycle Werks Wild Hare to a 2015 Giant Trance 27.5 in the last year, the next important upgrade was my Sidi Dominators of the same late 90s vintage.

When new, they were stiff, efficient, light and the Italian leather broke in to fit me like a glove. Fast forward to now, and the soles have gone soft, the leather is getting thrashed and the cinch straps are chewed up.

I also found the hard plastic lugs about as useful as ice skates on Sierra granite, so I wanted something with a sticky rubber sole. The pedals would remain the same – you’ll have to pry my Time ATACs from my cold, dead fingers.

The short list:IMG_1698

  • Pearl Izumi X-Project: Seemed nice, but the ratchet strap bottomed out before snugging on my B-width low volume foot.
  • Specialized Rime: A good fit with a descent looking sole. A strong contender.
  • Giro Terraduro: A great fit, but stories of soles peeling off had me gun shy.
  • Five Ten Kestrel: I didn’t get a chance to try these on, but like my Five Ten climbing and approach shoes, and had a REI dividend burning a hole in my virtual pocket.

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My Mom and the TiVo

Often when I visit my parents in Point Reyes, a stack of clipped articles and a DVR full of TiVo’d shows await me.

It can feel like homework or a guilt trip, but in reality, it’s not that at all. It’s just my mother. From a young age, I’ve gone through what my parents have called “phases.” From dinosaurs to World War II aircraft, birds of prey to sports cars, I’ve had what I’d call “interests,” and reasonable people might call “obsessions.” Feverishly studying a given topic for hours on end, I was (ok, am) that kid.

My mom could have taken a stern hand, like so many parents, directing me towards things seen as more productive. Instead, she went out of her way – way, way out of her way – to support me: trips to the city for dinosaur museum displays, a visit to the Perigrine Fund, even shaping family vacations around my interests.

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2016 Trek Remedy & Fuel Demo: Lessons Learned

In my Giant Trance 27.5 review from I while back, I mentioned I didn’t have a lot to compare it too – I’d been out of the mountain biking world for a while.

Last week, Lynn and I got to demo new Trek Remedy 9.8 29ers and Trek Fuel 9.9 29ers, and the experience was eye-opening. Let me start by saying, I still love my Trance – it’s a great bike. But after riding the two Treks, I can definitely say I’d go with a 29 inch wheel in a heartbeat, no reservations.

I do have to take our experience with a grain of salt. The trail we rode – Sawtooth – is tailor-made for a mid-travel 29er with a taller bottom bracket and fairly conservative geometry. In other words, the Remedy. No steeps, tight turns or high-speed turns, just a lot of rocky, rooty rolling terrain.

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Lower Canyon Lake, Trinity Alps

Exploring the Trinity Alps

Kyle Magin, editor of Tahoe Quarterly, just keeps finding the granite gems.

When most people think of craggy white granite peaks, they typically think of the Sierra or the Rockies here in the west – places like Yosemite or the Grand Tetons. A couple of years ago, Kyle picked the Ruby Mountains of eastern Nevada for a guy’s trip, and the dramatic peaks, alpine lakes and wildflowers were amazing.

This year, he zeroed in on another less-visited range called the Trinity Alps in far Northern California; an area I’d passed through coming and going to the redwoods on the coast, but never explored. A unique mix of Sierra, Coast Range and even Cascade both in feel and in flora and fauna, the range definitely didn’t disappoint our crew of jaded mountain men.

We camped at the Ripstein Campground, north of Junction City, and hiked the Canyon Creek Trail to Lower Canyon Lake, a fairly taxing 16-mile roundtrip. Signs at the trail head had a fairly different editorial style than what we’re used to in the Sierra, lamenting lack of solitude (we saw a handful of people the whole weekend) and quasi-apologizing for hikers who had taken out a beaver dam (while asking hikers not to do that).


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